New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

Occupational Health & Safety Bureau

State of NM Frequently Asked Questions

Specific FAQ:

SMALL BUSINESSES

How can NM OSHA help small businesses?

NM OSHA has an On-site Consultation Program offering FREE and confidential guidance to small and medium-sized businesses in New Mexico, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. To request NM OSHA’s FREE On-site Consultation Serviced visit the Consultation Program Page.

NM OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialists (CASs) can provide general information about OSHA standards and compliance assistance resources by responding to requests for help from a variety of groups including; small businesses, trade associations, union locals, community and faith-based groups. They are available for seminars, workshops, and speaking events and promote cooperative programs, such as the On-site Consultation Program, the Voluntary Protection Programs, the Strategic Partnership Program, and the Alliance Program. Compliance Assistant Specialists also promote OSHA’s training resources and the tools available on the OSHA website and the Compliance Assistance Page.

What OSHA resources are available for small business?

OSHA provides various electronic tools and resources for small business including:

OSHA eTools are “stand-alone”, interactive, Web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. They are highly illustrated and utilize graphical menus. Some also use expert system modules, which enable the user to answer questions, and receive reliable advice on how OSHA regulations apply to their work site.

OSHA’s Safety and Health Management Systems eTool provides guidance for employers looking to build effective safety and health management systems at their worksites.

OSHA Safety and Health Topics Pages provide access to selected occupational safety and health information. The subjects of these pages include specific workplace hazards, as well as individual industries.

OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements.

 OSHA’s Compliance Assistance Quick Start is a tool to introduce employers and employees, especially those at new or small businesses, to the compliance assistance resources on OSHA’s website.

OSHA’s $afety Pays Program is an interactive expert system to assist employers in estimating the costs of occupational injuries and illnesses and the impact on a company’s profitability. This system uses a company’s profit margin, the AVERAGE costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need to generate in order to cover those costs.

Publications – Various publications are on-line at www.osha.gov to help small businesses comply with regulatory requirements.

What are your responsibilities as an employer?  

Under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ( OSH Act), as the employer, you must provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to your employees regardless of the size of your business. You must comply with OSHA standards and regulations under the OSH Act. You must also be familiar with those OSHA standards and regulations that apply to your workplace and make copies of them available to employees upon request.

Are employers required to maintain records of injuries and illnesses?

Yes. Most businesses with 11 or more employees at any time during the calendar year must maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Such recordkeeping is not required for employers industries identified as partially exempt.

Must employers display OSHA safety and health information in the workplace?

Yes. You must display OSHA’s Safe and Healthful Workplaces poster (OSHA 3165 or the state equivalent) in a conspicuous location in your workplace where workers and prospective employees can see it. This publication informs employees of their rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act.

Is your business subject to inspection?

All businesses covered by the OSH Act must comply with federal workplace safety and health standards, or comparable state standards, if the workplace is under the jurisdiction of a state agency administering an OSHA-approved safety and health plan. Every establishment covered by the OSH Act is subject to inspection by federal or state compliance safety and health officers who are chosen for their knowledge and experience in the occupational safety and health field. OSHA conducts workplace inspections of businesses in federal jurisdictions, and OSHA-approved state plans are responsible for conducting workplace inspections of businesses under state jurisdiction to enforce their own standards that are “at least as effective” as federal requirements. NM OSHA is an OSHA-approved state plan. 

Why is safety and health important for a small business?

Safety is good business. It’s the right thing to do and doing it right pays off in lower costs, increased productivity, and higher employee morale.

As an employer, you have a duty to protect your workers from injury and illness on the job. Protecting workers also makes good business practice. Accidents and injuries are more expensive than many realize, costs mount up quickly. But substantial savings in workers’ compensation and consistent productivity by decreasing lost workdays are the affects when injury and illness decline.

How can you reduce employee injuries and illnesses?

Compliance with OSHA rules is essential. Compliance along with an effective voluntary safety and health program can help reduce your the possibility of injuries and illnesses. An organized, carefully crafted plan that systematically focuses on workplace hazards with employee training, which is critical, help raise awareness of safety and health culture. Buy-in from every manager and employee is essential. Everyone has to work at safety and health.

How do you develop this program?

Each safety and health program should be tailored to fit the company, to blend with its unique operations and culture, and to help employers maintain a system that continually addresses workplace hazards. There are five elements that every effective program should have: management leadership and employee participation, workplace analysis, hazard prevention and control, safety and health training/ education, and continuous program evaluation.

What do you mean by management leadership and employee participation?

Employers and employees work together to make safety and health a priority. Communication, between employees and employers, on workplace safety and health issues are essential. For example, this partnership can be achieved when you:

  • Post the company’s written safety and health policy for all to see
  • Involve employees in policymaking on safety and health issues
  • Take an active part in safety activities
  • Hold meetings that focus on employee safety and health
  • Abide by all safety and health rules
  • Show your commitment by investing time, effort, and money in your safety and health program

 What’s a worksite analysis and how often do you have to do it?

A worksite analysis means that you and your employees analyze all worksite conditions to identify and eliminate existing or potential hazards. This should be done on a regular and timely basis. There should be a current hazard analysis for all jobs and processes that all employees know and understand. To do this, it is helpful to:

  • Request a FREE NM OSHA Consultation visit
  • Become aware of hazards in your industry
  • Create safety teams
  • Encourage employees to report workplace hazards
  • Examine history of worksite conditions
  • Have an adequate system for reporting hazards
  • Have trained personnel conduct inspections of the worksite and correct hazards
  • Ensure that any changes in process or new high-hazard facilities are reviewed by a competent person
  • Seek assistance from safety and health experts. (See also OSHA publication 3071 – Job Hazard Analysis for steps in identifying and protecting against workplace hazards.)

After you identify hazards at your worksite, how can you prevent or control them?

The next part of an effective safety and health program is your continual review of your work environment and work practices to control or prevent workplace hazards. This can be done when you:

  • Regularly and thoroughly maintain equipment
  • Ensure that hazard correction procedures are in place
  • Ensure that employees know how to use and maintain personal protective equipment
  • Ensure that all employees understand and follow safe work procedures
  • Make sure that, where necessary, you have a medical program tailored to your facility to help prevent workplace hazards and exposures

What else can you do to minimize potential accidents and injuries?

 It is important that everyone in the workplace be properly trained, from the floor worker to the supervisors, managers, contractors, part-time and temporary employees. This can be done when you:

  • Allow only properly authorized and instructed employees to do any job
  • Make sure no employees do any job that appears unsafe
  • Hold emergency preparedness drills for employees
  • Pay particular attention to employees learning new operations to make sure they have the proper job skills and awareness of hazards
  • Train supervisors and managers to recognize hazards and understand their responsibilities
  • Encourage all employees to report any hazardous conditions to their supervisors

How can small businesses obtain NM OSHA recognition for exceptional injury and illness prevention programs?

The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. Acceptance into the SHARP by NM OSHA is an achievement of status that will single you out among your business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. Upon receiving SHARP recognition, your worksite will be deferred from programmed inspections from OSHA Compliance/Enforcement during the period that your SHARP status is valid.

NM OSHA manages two separate SHARP programs, the Construction SHARP and General Industry SHARP.

How can I get more information?

You can visit the OSHA website at www.osha.gov or contact NM OSHA toll free at 1-877-610-6742.

 

NEW BUSINESSES

How can NM OSHA help small businesses?

NM OSHA provides guidance, education, and assistance to business (particularly small employers), trade associations, local labor affiliates, and other stakeholders who request help with occupational safety and health issues. They work with professional organizations, unions, and community groups concerning issues of safety and health in the workplace. In addition, NM OSHA offers the following services:

NM OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers FREE and confidential guidance to small and medium-sized businesses in New Mexico, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. To request NM OSHA’s FREE On-site Consultation Serviced visit Consultation Program Page for more information.

NM OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialists (CASs) can provide general information about OSHA standards and compliance assistance resources. They respond to requests for help from a variety of groups, including small businesses, trade associations, union locals, and community and faith-based groups. They are available for seminars, workshops, and speaking events. They promote cooperative programs, such as the On-site Consultation Program, the Voluntary Protection Programs, the Strategic Partnership Program, and the Alliance Program. They also promote OSHA’s training resources and the tools available on the OSHA web site and the Compliance Assistance Page.

Publications – Various publications are on-line at www.osha.gov to help small businesses comply with regulatory requirements.

What are your responsibilities as an employer? 

Under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ( OSH Act), as the employer, you must provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to your employees regardless of the size of your business. You must comply with OSHA standards and regulations under the OSH Act. You must also be familiar with those OSHA standards and regulations that apply to your workplace and make copies of them available to employees upon request.

Are employers required to maintain records of injuries and illnesses?

Yes. Most businesses with 11 or more employees at any time during the calendar year must maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Such recordkeeping is not required for employers industries identified as partially exempt.

Must employers display OSHA safety and health information in the workplace?

Yes, employers must display OSHA’s Safe and Healthful Workplaces poster (OSHA 3165 or the state equivalent) in a conspicuous location in your workplace where workers and prospective employees can see it. This publication informs employees of their rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act.

Are employers required to communicate information about hazardous chemicals in the workplace to their employees?

Yes, employers must inform their workers about the dangers of chemical hazards in their workplaces and train their employees regarding proper safeguards. This includes providing information on the hazards and identities of chemicals employees may be exposed to on the job and describing protective measures to prevent adverse effects. Chemical producers and importers must evaluate their products for chemical hazards and provide hazard information to customers.

Is your business subject to inspection?

All businesses covered by the OSH Act must comply with federal workplace safety and health standards, or comparable state standards, if the workplace is under the jurisdiction of a state agency administering an OSHA-approved safety and health plan. Every establishment covered by the OSH Act is subject to inspection by federal or state compliance safety and health officers who are chosen for their knowledge and experience in the occupational safety and health field. OSHA conducts workplace inspections of businesses in federal jurisdictions, and OSHA-approved state plans are responsible for conducting workplace inspections of businesses under state jurisdiction to enforce their own standards that are “at least as effective” as federal requirements. NM OSHA is an OSHA-approved state plan. 

How can I get more information?

You can visit the OSHA website at www.osha.gov or contact NM OSHA toll free at 1-877-610-6742. 

 

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